Eco, the environmentalist voice at the annual IWC conference

The Environmental Voice at the IWC

Earth Island Institute is pleased to offer ECO online for activists to follow the action at this year's meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Anchorage, May 28 - 31, 2007. The International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP) of Earth Island Institute has joined many other organizations as a proud sponsor of ECO since our inception.

» For more about ECO and the IWC, click here.

IWC 2007 Meeting: Daily Reports from Anchorage!

Sperm and Minke Whales – illustrations donated by Larry Foster

sperm whale drawing, swimmingminke whale drawing, swimming

The International Whaling Commission(IWC)

The International Whaling Commission is the regulatory body established by international treaty in 1946 to both regulate whaling on the high seas and to promote the "orderly development" of the whaling industry.

For many of its early years, the IWC was seriously deficient in protecting whales from commercial whaling. Many species declined to levels where their future survival still rests in doubt, due to over-hunting. The Scientific Committee was often ignored in the IWC political discussions to divide up the world's whales among whaling nations.

However, beginning in the 1960s, many whaling nations, in the face of public opposition and declining whale numbers, closed down their whaling industries, while the concerns of environmental and animal welfare organizations began to be heard within the formerly-closed IWC deliberations. In 1985, the IWC imposed a long-term moratorium on commercial whaling, although several nations are using questionable loopholes in international law to pursue continued whaling, notably Japan and Norway.

IWC Website:

ECO - The Environmental Voice at IWC

For years, the IWC has allowed Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to attend and observe proceedings at IWC meetings. But NGOs are not allowed to participate by making statements or arguing policy; only representatives of member nations can actively participate.

The environmental and animal welfare community developed ECO, a daily newsletter, to compensate for this lack of direct access to the debates.

ECO is put together each evening, recording votes by member nations and providing background and commentary from NGOs about the proceedings of the IWC. ECO is then distributed the next morning. ECO provides IWC member nation delegations, the media, and the public with the views of organizations defending the rights of whales.

ECO is funded and written by NGOs.

Back Issues of ECO - Cutting-Edge Environmental Coverage from the IWC!